Kasthuri Manjal

These are the dried rhizomes of an aromatic herb, common as undergrowth in the evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests of Western Ghats. The scientific name the herb is Curcuma aromatic. These rhizomes have medicinal properties and are used for treating leprosy and skin diseases, and also an antibacterial agent. Along with pepper and honey, these rhizomes are effective in curing the common cold. The juice of the rhizome is administered for blood purification. Further, kasthuri Manjal is widely used in the cosmetic industry: the dried rhizomes are pulverized and used as face pack.

The tribals of the Agasthyamala hills, the abode of rare medicinal plants in the Western Ghats, cultivate this species in their settlements. They have perfected the art of drying the rhizomes in the sun, and the sun-dried rhizomes can be stored for long. Collecting the produce from the wild and from cultivated lands and marketing them provide livelihood to thousands of tribals in the forests of Kerela. The Forest Development Agencies (FDA) offer support to the tribals who are membes of Vana samrakshana Samithies (VSS) and Eco-development Committees(EDC).

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